Last Thursday, my dogs Rusty and Sasha, had the “trip” of their lives. Since dogs get very distressed during dental cleanings, they had to be put under anesthesia, and I don’t blame them. When I go to the dentist I always ask for the laughing gas to take the edge off; otherwise, I too, would bite the dental hygienist!
When I picked them up at four p.m., they were still pretty drugged-up and acting really strange, especially Rusty. I walked them outside the vet’s building for a few minutes so they could breathe some air, and then we drove home.
Once at the house, my husband and I caught them staring at the walls for several minutes and leaning, like the Tower of Pisa, on the legs of the furniture. A few hours later, Sasha was her usual self, begging for food and cuddles, while Rusty still had trouble even walking in a straight line; he looked like a drunk sailor on leave. Thank God dogs don’t drive!
Watching my poor babies recover from their psychotropic experience made me realize that, just like animals, people react in different ways to the effects of anesthesia. For example, I am a quiet and obedient patient, but my son and my husband, could easily be specimens of medical research.
Last march my son underwent a tympanostomy (ventilation ear tubes) to prevent ear damage after a long series of ear infections. The surgery lasted only half an hour, but when he woke up, it seemed as if he were in the middle of a MMA fight with the entire Justice League.
When he heard my voice, he started kicking and bucking like a wild colt at a rodeo. His eyes were still closed and he muttered things I couldn’t understand. Instructed by the nurse, I jumped on the stretcher and hugged him, holding his arms and wrapping my legs around him.
I was horrified and kept asking the nurses if his reaction was normal, but they reassured me that everything was ok, and explained to me that little kids get very disoriented when regaining consciousness after anesthesia. In fact, they said that he was pretty good compared to other kids that start biting or dropping “F-bombs” like bombardiers.
One of the nurses rolled up her sleeve and showed me a faded scar, a semi-circle on her forearm saying, “Look at this. She was the sweetest two-year-old angel with pig tales, but when she woke up from the surgery, she turned into a piranha!”
Now, my husband turns the recovery room into a stand-up comedy theater when he wakes up from anesthesia. The best example of his secret talent was six years ago when he underwent a urology test. When he woke up he started yelling, “My balls are on fire!“, first in Spanish, and then in crystal clear English.
Later, he started talking about his party years at Bowling Green University in Ohio and said on top of his lungs, “This is some good stuff. I haven’t felt this good since college and I had to pay a lot money. Woooo Hoooo!“
I laughed and blushed in seconds as I kept trying to cover his mouth with my hands. The male nurse that was taking care of him couldn’t stop laughing, and all he could do was to close the curtain. However, the ceiling was wide open so, the echo of his comedy show reached every patient, nurse, and surgeon in the building.
The human brain is still a mystery, and going under anesthesia opens a portal to subconscious activity and the multiple levels of consciousness. Both my son and my husband can’t remember a word they said during those awakenings. But I do, and I have the notes to prove it.
I just hope I don’t have to go under the knife any time soon—unless my vanity strikes—because as I’ve gotten older, I don’t have filters anymore and God only knows what I might say when I get high as a kite.
Thanks for reading and sharing.